2 Kings 2:1-9 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So, they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So, they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So, the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”
I asked my dying mother, “Are you ready to go be with Jesus?” She answered with strong assurance, “yes.” I was so happy that she would be seeing Jesus face to face soon. I told her I was very excited to go be with Jesus someday, too, and to see her there. After I read Randy Alcorn’s book called Heaven a couple years ago, my understanding of heaven expanded. My life on earth changed. Reading his book made my relationship to Jesus grow exponentially and gave me confident expectations of my future.
Elijah lived in God’s presence on earth. On the mountain, in the valleys, he lived transparently before his God. This scripture account doesn’t tell us when God told Elijah he was going to heaven, or when all the prophets around him found out Elijah would be going to heaven. But they all knew, and it would be soon. There was an incredible anticipation. Elisha, who was to take Elijah’s place, didn’t want to leave his side. Nor did he want to hear the other prophets reminding him of his coming loss. He desired to observe his teacher’s walk with God to the very end, and asked for a double portion of his spirit. Elijah was going to heaven, and Elisha wanted to see it. And see it he did,a human being taken to heaven by a whirlwind of fire in a chariot happened only once in scripture.
Elijah never died; he went directly into God’s presence in heaven. Elijah’s confidence in his relationship with God is inspiring. Let’s be like Elijah and live so close to God, there’s no big change when we see him face to face. Read through Revelation 6:9-11 and make observations about what heaven will be like. Let a new vision of heaven give you confidence to live. Treat others now on earth like you will be treated when you see Jesus face to face.
By Donna Burns